The Senate is expected to vote, and pass, today a compromise welfare proposal which puts an end to Aid to Families with Dependent Children, the federal government’s main cash welfare program. Currently, fourteen million Americans, ten million of whom are children, receive benefits from the program. The welfare reform plan eliminates entitlements completely and instead gives states set sums, known as block grants, with which to create and maintain their own welfare systems. States must limit benefits to five years, require beneficiaries to work after two years and actually spend 80% of the block grant on welfare for at least five years.
The Senate proposal also includes $1 billion in backup funds should an emergency require states to receive additio nal funding and additional funds for day-care. The Senate proposal differs in significant ways to the House welfare bill passed earlier this year. The Senate cut House-endorsed provisions which would deny welfare benefits to unwed teen-age mothers and to welfare mothers who have additional childre n. The Senate version would allow the states to decide individually whether or not to make such provisions. After the Senate passes its welfare bill, the two houses must come together to hammer out a compromise bill to send to the President. Though Pre sident Clinton supports the Senate version over the House version, it is still unclear whether or not he will sign or veto a compromise bill.